We've been studying predator insects in Science. I recognized a critter that I had taken a picture of in early September of 2010 that I wasn't familiar with at the time.
I learned that this was a Goldenrod Spider. They are unique in the fact that they can change their colors from yellow to white to camouflage themselves. Why this one was still white on a yellow sunflower, I don't know. But it was really cool to see. They ambush their victims by blending in with their surroundings and then grab ahold of them, injecting their venom to paralyze them. Then they suck out their prey's juices. Mmmm. It's a cruel world sometimes, is it not? They feed on the insects that come to the flowers for the nectar. In my picture this spider has a bumblebee.
I also learned just today that the birds that I've been trying to identify that make the large flocks in the fall are Starlings. They come into the wooded area next door to us. Not in a huge flock (murmuration) but enough to make it sound like a wild jungle outside.
Check out this amazing video...
Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.
The Starling isn't native to North America and can be an invasive nuisance. But don't ruin my joy with these facts!! I love to see their flocks in the fall and I'm happy to know what they are now!! :-)
I also discovered a new bird watching site: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They'll send you a free birdwatching calendar if you sign up for one. And they have curriculum for homeschoolers too. :-) Pretty cool!!
I try to make it a point to learn something new everyday. Sometimes it just happens without thought or effort. I am concerned however, that each new bit of information that I learn pushes out some old piece of data that I had stored away!! I'm terrified that I will have to recall some old important tidbit someday that will have gotten replaced by something new. ;-)